This ‘First Close, Last to Open’ (FCLO) recovery programme stands to benefit up to 10,000 entrepreneurs with finance and business support, according to Minister Wan Junaidi.

With the PEMULIH package recently announced, Malaysia’s Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) said that it will utilise the RM100mn allocated to help affected micro-SMEs (PMKS) in the non-essential sectors or the ‘First Close, Last to Open’ (FCLO) category.

This FCLO recovery programme, a collaboration between MEDAC and two of its agencies TEKUN Nasional and National Entrepreneurship Institute (INSKEN), will provide up to RM10,000 micro-financing, and benefit around 10,000 FCLO entrepreneurs through comprising structured advisory and consultation, coaching and training, financing and progress monitoring.

According to Minister Dato Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, MEDAC has identified around 1,400 FCLO entrepreneurs to participate under this programme from 14 non-essential businesses including post-natal, spa and wellness, homestay, and sports and recreation.

“To put it simply, this is a hand-holding recovery programme. This is not just about giving them money to help their business.

“This is a tailor-made recovery plan for the participants. We will talk to them, identify their problems, prescribe the required solutions, provide them with the required financing and monitor their progress,” Minister Wan Junaidi explained.

Further, Minister Wan Junaidi shared that it’s crucial the government makes this move.

He highlighted that “many are now uncertain of their future, if the lockdown continues, as they only have cash reserves to sustain their operations for the next three to six months.”

Based on MEDAC’s research, it was revealed that the FCLOs, due to the nation’s continuous movement control orders (PKP), are in dire situation. There are:

  • More than 60% of the entrepreneurs in the FCLO sub-sector who are in the B40 category, with very little savings and do not have any employment benefit.
  • More than 90% per cent of these entrepreneurs have no insurance;
  • Approximately 70% have no safety nets to fall back on should they lose their jobs.

Without proper intervention, the non-essential FCLO entrepreneurs, which account for almost 90% of Malaysia’s PMKS sector, will be unemployed. Minister Wan Junaidi reiterated that this issue mustn’t be taken lightly.

“We need to help these FCLO business operators. If they close shop, it will mean that approximately 4mn Malaysians will be made jobless – that is indeed a high number of unemployment for a country with a population size of around 30mn.”

He added: “Assuming that these 4mn workers have an average of three dependents, it will also mean that another 12mn people will also be affected from this. This is just a conservative assumption the actual numbers could be higher.”

Photo / 123RF

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